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Online Learning Fits

"I adapted very quickly to the online learning style, and can't imagine the program any other way. It fits so well with my schedule."

After completing her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at Brock University, Zoe McGhie returned to Conestoga to study Pre-Health. It wasn't long after she began working as a Career Hub Assistant in Conestoga's Career Hub that she quickly realized that Pre-Health was not best suited for her and therefore, she needed to consider an alternate plan for the following year. After meeting with one of Conestoga's Career Advisors one-on-one to discuss some options, she applied to the part-time, online Career Development Practitioner (CDP) graduate certificate program. She loved assisting in the Career Hub and seeing the amazing work the Advisors did in helping the students. She knew that it was something she would enjoy and be passionate about.

We recently had the opportunity to sit down with Zoe and learn about her educational journey at Conestoga.

Winter 2018 cover

1. What was your reasoning for enrolling in this program?

I knew it would help me advance in my career and achieve my future goals. My short-term goal was to become an Employment Advisor with an Employment Ontario Service Provider. Just 6 months into the program I landed a job as an Employment Specialist with the Kitchener YMCA Employment Services. My long-term goal is to advance in my field and either become a Supervisor or begin working for the Ministry with Employment Ontario. I know without this program I wouldn't have gotten to where I am today, and my long-term goals would be even further out of sight.

2. What would you describe as some of the strengths of the program?

My program is offered 100% online, which means I can complete it anywhere at any time. I had already completed 4 years of school and knew I was ready to start working. Online learning means that I can complete the program while working, without it ever conflicting with my schedule. My professors are always available to help and provide guidance. Some people think that online learning means you will have almost no connection with your professors, but it's the opposite. They are always available by phone, email, Skype, in person, and they host regular webinars for the class to attend and engage with each other. There is a lot of collaboration going on.

3. With your courses delivered fully online, what were your initial perceptions about online learning?

I had taken a couple online courses during my undergrad, so my perceptions were that they would be the same; they would require a lot of self-discipline, good time management and motivation. After experiencing the CDP program online, I find it easy to stay on top of the course load and to stay relevant with the work because I am so interested and passionate about what I am learning.

4. How are you able to fit the course-work into your day-to-day life?

There are weekly discussions that must be completed, so I make sure that I plan ahead. I always look to see what personal or work related events I have going on during the week, and then schedule a time for myself that is free to sit down and complete the postings. As long as you keep yourself organized, and have good time management skills you will have no problem fitting the course into your day-to-day life. I personally like to keep a calendar above my desk with due dates, as well as a daytimer for school and a separate one for work. I also set alarms for major projects to remind myself when they are due.

5. If you could share advice with others considering Conestoga's programs and courses, what would it be?

If you are interested in a career in the field of career development, employment services, or really any related human and social services work this program is fantastic. There are a lot of skills and techniques that are taught that can be transferable to many careers. A large part of the program is based on counselling techniques as well. It's a great asset to any degree or diploma. In addition, there is a practicum portion of the course which helps you gain valuable experience in the field and really helps to jump start your career.

When asked about her overall experience as a part-time student Zoe shared,

"My experience as a part-time student with Conestoga has been nothing short of amazing. Being able to take my classes part-time and online enabled me to work a couple different student jobs at Conestoga, as well as volunteer on and off campus. I would recommend part-time studies to anyone looking to further their learning and/or career because there are so many program options, and part-time studies makes it easier to balance school and life."

Conestoga wishes to thank Zoe for sharing her experience.

Flexible learning options provide opportunity for every lifestyle

"It has always been one of my goals in life to better myself in what I do."

Francisco Aparicio has always wanted to continue his education but between family and work, he felt that there was never enough time. After reading about the Manufacturing Engineering program offered through Continuing Education, he knew that it was just what he was looking for. It was only a short day later that he decided to take the leap and enrol in the program. With courses offered both in-class and online, Francisco found the solution for balancing family and work while pursuing his education.

We recently had the opportunity to sit down with Francisco to learn about his educational journey at Conestoga.

Fall 2017 Catalogue Cover

What was your reasoning for enrolling in this program?

I work in the automotive industry and have always wondered how things work. When I read about this program, I believed that it would help me better understand my working environment and provide new opportunities for career advancement and personal development.

What are some of the strengths of the courses?

The courses I have taken have been very helpful in providing relevant industry information. The knowledge and experience that the instructors bring to class is invaluable.

How are you able to fit the course work into your day-to-day life?

Having a full-time job and a family with young children is busy. It is not always easy to fit course work in, but good planning, keeping your eyes on your goal and putting forth extra effort makes it both possible and worthwhile.

What positive outcomes have come from continuing your education?

Continuing my education has given me the satisfaction of learning and understanding new things. I've gained a sense of self-accomplishment as well as the opportunity to set new goals.

Conestoga wishes to thank Francisco for sharing his experience.

New Directions

"Part-time Studies is a great way to broaden your skills, build your resume and network with like-minded people."

After graduating from Conestoga's full-time Business Administration Marketing program and working full-time for 3 years, Julia Laugalys was looking to grow her career in new directions. Seeking to strengthen her skill set, she enrolled in the part-time Human Resources program.

We recently had the opportunity to sit down with Julia to learn more about her journey as a part-time student at Conestoga.

Spring 2017 Calendar Cover

1. What was your reasoning for enrolling in this program?

My reasoning was two-fold: to advance in my current career and for personal development. With the growing trend of workplace compliance such as health and safety training, the course material offers practical knowledge to bring to an employer. I like to make a difference in the lives of others and contribute to the bottom line, so I saw this career path as a good fit for me.

2. What are some of the strengths of the courses?

Many relevant and related topics and projects are introduced to help learn the course material. The instructors are very approachable and eager to see students succeed.

3. How are you able to fit the course work into your day-to-day life?

Online learning is great as it allows me to study at my own pace. It is nice to have the flexibility of self-directed learning so that I can balance school with work and life. Following the course schedule is a good way to remain on track in order to meet the course requirements. It's all about finding the balance and what works best for you.

4. What positive outcomes have come from continuing your education?

Part-time Studies has helped me network with professionals in my industry and advance in my career.

5. If you could share advice with others considering Conestoga's programs and courses, what would it be?

If you're considering part-time courses, it's best to leap in and do it rather than hold off and wait for the right time. Life will always be busy, but you can always find a few hours here and there to make it work. Take something that interests you and consider it a new hobby; you never know where it may take you later. Start with one course to ease your way in, then chip away. Before you know it, you'll have a new certificate or diploma.

6. Do you plan on furthering your development by enrolling in other part-time courses with Conestoga?

I just might. Perhaps I will be a lifelong student. It's always good to be learning something.

Conestoga wishes to thank Julia for sharing her experience.

Refining her skill set through flexible, online learning.

"The course was very well organized and offered the flexibility I needed to maintain success at work while continuing my education."

Seeking to refine her skill set for career advancement, Sammy Mutti turned to Conestoga and successfully completed the Geographical Information Systems Software-ArcView course delivered through online learning.

We recently had the opportunity to speak with Sammy about her pathway to Conestoga and how her learning has helped in providing her with new skills to gain a competitive edge in her profession.

Winter 2016 Cover
1. Describe your pathway to Conestoga.

I was initially directed towards enrolling at Conestoga by my employer. I am currently working as a water resources engineer for a municipal water and wastewater consulting firm in the Region of Waterloo.

A large portion of my job responsibilities includes utilizing GIS-based hydraulic modeling software to analyze municipal water supply and distribution systems. I started my job with very little exposure to ArcGIS software and turned to Conestoga to develop and refine my skill set.

2. What would you describe as some of the strengths you found in your course?

The course was very well organized and offered the flexibility I needed to maintain success at work while continuing my education. I enjoyed the online discussion boards and the ability to interact with my classmates when I needed clarifications on the course material or when completing assignments.

My course instructor was also key to the success of the course - the instructor responded in a timely manner to all questions and was easily contacted if any problems came up.

3. What was your reason for registering in this course?

Although my primary reason was career advancement, personal development and a desire to continue learning when given the opportunity also played a factor.

Geographical Information Systems Software-ArcView was delivered online and suited both Sammy's demanding work schedule and personal lifestyle. When asked about her initial perception of an online course and whether this had changed after her experience, Sammy replied:

"My perception towards an online setting has changed since completing the course with Conestoga. My previous exposure to an online course was during University; I felt isolated and lost at times when I struggled to understand the course material. The vast amount of resources provided to the students by Conestoga (i.e., textbook, discussion boards with classmates, and easy to contact instructors to name a few) made this online experience very enjoyable. The instructor maintained constant communication with the students and responded to questions in a timely fashion. The online course was easy to navigate and the discussion boards made me feel connected to the other students in the course."

4. What positive outcomes have come from continuing your education?

As a young professional, being able to network with like-minded individuals - my classmates - was extremely insightful. Learning how GIS is used in other industries gave me a different perspective and some specific new ideas that I have been able to apply to my projects. This course has certainly given me a competitive edge in my professional life and will benefit both myself and my employer moving forward.

5. How were you able to fit the course-work into your day-to-day life?

The online course setting provided me with the flexibility I needed to fit the work into my day-to-day life. A detailed course schedule was provided at the very beginning of the term which allowed me to prioritize assignments, quizzes and course readings with my job. Being well aware of course requirements and having a flexible course schedule minimized stress and allowed me to excel both in my job and in school.

6. If you could share advice with others considering Conestoga's programs and courses, what would it be?

I highly recommend Conestoga programs/courses! I was unsure at first and thought that part-time studies would be too much of a commitment while working full time. Conestoga courses are extremely well organized and provide a positive and collaborative learning environment for students. Conestoga will lead you to a vast amount of professional and personal development opportunities.

Sammy described her overall experience as a part-time student:

"From the well-organized and flexible courses, to the extensive resources available to the students and professional and knowledgeable staff - Conestoga part-time studies has been a very positive and beneficial experience for me!"

Conestoga College wishes to thank Sammy for sharing her experience.

Gaining a competitive edge

I was able to complete the final credits required for the full-time post-secondary diploma that I had worked diligently to achieve, all while maintaining my active lifestyle and spending quality time with my family. Now that I have my diploma, I have been able to kick-start my new career path faster than I had ever imagined possible.

A graduate from Conestoga's School of Health & Life Sciences and Community Services, Trevor Wey's passion for people and problem solving were drivers to his success through part-time studies.

We recently had the opportunity to speak with Trevor about his unique pathway with Conestoga and his success in obtaining his full-time Protection, Security and Investigation diploma by completing and receiving credits through part-time studies.

Describe your pathway to Conestoga.

Fall Cover 2016

I began my journey at Conestoga when I applied for the Culinary Fundamentals program. As an individual who had pursued the culinary arts through high school as well as the years leading up to applying for college, I initially planned on a culinary career. Although I was accepted into the program, an unforeseen personal issue led me to change my pathway and pursue an entirely new direction that allowed me to focus on my real passions - working with people and problem-solving. Although I still enjoy cooking, I believed that my new career path would enable me to help people in a much more meaningful way.

What was your reasoning for applying to the program?

Although my primary reason was a desire to change careers, career advancement and personal development played a part in my decision-making as well.

What were some of the strengths you found in your courses?

The courses provided me with the necessary in-class interaction to acquire the knowledge to successfully complete all assignments. The courses also provided an active learning component, allowing me to gain both academic credentials and real-world experience, and giving me the competitive edge I needed when entering the workforce.

With your courses delivered both in-class and online, what were your initial perceptions about online studies?

A combination of both in-class and online courses perfectly suited my lifestyle. I was a little hesitant about online at first due to the unnerving feeling of having to face certain portions of the courses alone; however, the feeling quickly subsided as I learned that I was not alone at all. There were a number of valuable resources at my disposal, with classmates being among the most important.

How were you able to fit the course work into your day-to-day life?

During the process of registering for part-time studies, my spouse was also returning from maternity leave to post-secondary studies to finish her last term in a full-time program. Together we were able to receive enough funding to allow me to take some time off so that I could care for our children and spend some much needed quality time with them. My courses were held in the evenings, and hers were during the day. Any assignments or studying that was required would be completed after the children were asleep. We were quite lucky to have such a beautifully harmonised schedule, allowing us to achieve our diplomas together. This was very special to us not only because we graduated together, but also due to the fact that we met at Conestoga while taking the same program.

If you could share advice with others considering Conestoga's programs and courses, what would it be?

DO NOT HESITATE! Conestoga has a vast amount of high quality academic options, and even more networking and career opportunities. What are you waiting for? Get out there and create the future that you have known you deserve.

Do you plan on furthering your development by enrolling in other part-time courses with Conestoga?

I am currently gaining experience within my chosen field, but as I mentioned earlier, career advancement and personal development are always part of the grand scheme of things!

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